Save the Orion Cinema

by roberteggleston on 18 June, 2011

If you saw the story in the Mid Sussex Times on 9th June you will be aware that Mid Sussex District Council is looking at developing the Cyprus Road Car Park site. Sainsbury has expressed an interest in putting up a superstore on thsi site and if this went ahead it is likely that The Orion Cinema and Cyprus Hall will both be demolished.

There has been a cinema on this site since just after the First World War and the current one was built in 1928 to an Art Deco design and is an important part of the town’s heritage and history. I have a letter in this week’s Middy and believe the cinema should be saved from the Mid Sussex bulldozers.

No amount of money can replace this part of the town’s heritage and I strongly believe that we should campaign to save the cinema for the town.

I have no doubt that the prospect of a modern multiplex will be dangled before our noses (I’ll believe it when I see it). However, even if that was on offer The Orion should be preserved. It could then become a community asset providing arts in a way that mass produced films can’t.

I have set up a Facebook fan site – SAVE THE ORION, BURGESS HILL – and will set up a campaign website soon. If you want to join the campaign to save the cinema please email me on


5 Responses

  1. Dave Hoskins says:

    I am 38 years old and remember going to this cinema with my parent to see films like Herbie, Bond and Condor man.

    To this day i still go to the Orion cinema with MY children and feel very angry that yet again something with character and history could be destroyed by large companies who are only interested in MONEY and not the needs of the community!

    Its time that the local community stood up to large company’s and say NO !
    There will always be a place for supermarkets like Sainsbury in our society but at what expense ?

    There is also a wider implication to this plan, our local shop keepers who struggle to compete against the larger store will surely just shut up shop when the giant moves in directly next door. These large stores should be kept to the edges of the town centres to give local trade a chance to survive

    Has Burgess Hill got enough empty shop units and charity shops already !!!

  2. David Bishop says:

    Well done Robert for starting the Save the Orion Campaign. Mid Sussex District Council appear to have no interest in the social and historic importance of preserving the only remaining pupose built cinema in Mid Sussex. Let’s not loose this gem the way The Broadway & The Perrymount went in Haywards Heath, not forgetting the other Orion in Hassocks. Our district council do not appear to learn from their mistakes concerning the goodies they might be promised by developers.
    Yes please I would like to join your campaign to save the Burgess Hill Orion Cinema.

  3. richard hornby says:

    The Orion provides a welcome, friendly, affordable and interesting change to the modern multiplex cinemas. I believe that a cinema is a vital part of the cultural life of any town and a traditional, long-standing, SMALL set-up with a homely feel is preferable; the possibility of it’s closure is as poignant to me as that of the cinema at the end of the the film “Cinema Paradiso”. Potential developers should watch that film before deciding to put progress and financial gains before community facilities which are clearly much love by many people.

  4. David Frost says:

    Good work on the campaign to save the Orion cinema. It’s a little gem of a place, offering a fantastic selection of films and a much more pleasant viewing experience. If the Orion goes, what will be the option for Burgess Hill residents, the multiplexes at Brighton or Crawley? No thanks!

    As a town we are already served by a huge Tesco, Waitrose, a smaller Tesco and Lidl, with a well appointed Sainsbury’s in nearby Haywards Heath. Do we really need to sell off the car park to accommodate yet another supermarket?

    Burgess Hill Town Centre is already suffering the effects of the economic downturn, the number of empty shops seems to grow on a weekly basis. Bringing in yet another Supermarket chain will only hasten this downward trend as smaller, local shops are forced out of business. The council should be encouraging local business, looking to build a town centre with more to offer than generic supermarkets, somewhere people, families, friends can go to meet socialise and enjoy themselves and the Orion is perfect for this!

    It’s a fantastic asset to Burgess hill and we should be doing all we can to save it.

  5. John Russell says:

    I moved down from London at the age of six in 1958, my dad was a Burgess Hill boy all his life. I have fond memories of going to the “Flea Pit” as it was known then, with my mother sometimes, or friends as I recall every week. I have never been to the current cinema, although I know it has been done up as they say.
    I work in Burgess Hill occasionaly and drive past it, and it is part of the towns history. Look at the Dome cinema in Worthing now, they tried to close that down, and now that is the only proper cinema Worthing has got, and what a delightful place it is.

    Maybe somebody could try and get a preservation order on it, That would slow them down. I hope all the efforts to keep the ORION standing are succesfull. My father would be rolling in his grave if he knew what they were planning.

    John Russell – Upper Beeding

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